Rob Reviews "Book Club"
I really dig films that look at all different kinds of friendships. Maybe it’s because I am getting older and value the time that I have been able to spend with different people, and to be able to say that I have friends that I have known literally as long as I can remember makes this existence so much richer. That could be why films that center around these relationships are done so much and tend to be successful, no matter who the target demographic is. With “Book Club,” writer-director Bill Holderman takes a look at it through the lens of a pretty spectacular cast.
Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, Jane Fonda, and Candice Bergen (see what I mean?) play lifelong friends that started their own book club in college where each one of them rotates picking a book each month. They all come from different walks of life and love (one divorced, one widowed, one consciously single, and one in a long-term, sizzle-free marriage), and when “Fifty Shades of Grey” is introduced to the group, it affects each of them differently as they rediscover not only who they are, but who they want to be as well.
I know you are reading this and saying, “Rob, seriously? This really looks like a chick flick”. Yes, yes it is. However, it is actually more than that because it is just as much about the ties that bind us all to each other and how it is never too late to take that journey. This is a strong script (co-written by Erin Simms) that speaks to more than just its target demographic (which I am definitely not part of), and I found myself very entertained. The brilliance here is that this is not the story of one of these women, but really balances each and every one of them in a way that gave me emotional investment in all of them. They are all completely different without being stereotypical and are fleshed out brilliantly in a way that kept me engaged throughout. Match this up with a great supporting cast that includes Craig T. Nelson, Wallace Shawn, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Ed Begley, Jr., and even Richard Dreyfuss, and this film had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
The standout here for me is Bergen, whom I have been a fan of for many years. Her character of Sharon, who is a Federal Judge trying to get back out there to even her own chagrin, has some great moments that those of us that are getting on in age can completely identify. The chemistry with her and all of the leads carries very organically, and all of them have a great give-and-take with each other that made my level of enjoyment even higher.
For those of you out there that may owe your significant other a “chick flick” to balance out something you dragged them to at one point, allow me to let you in on a little secret here: “Book Club” is one that you can cash that raincheck in on and not want to find the closest exit as quickly as possible. Just don’t tell them that this is the motivation behind you picking it.